Ask Paul


Pompeo Group is happy to answer any questions you may have about hiring and interviewing within the lighting, electrical, controls and loT space.

All questions from hiring managers, owners, HR professionals and candidates will remain anonymous. No company or individual names will be used.


    Posted 2/8/2020

    I’m fine with paying a fee to a search firm for a great person but most retained search firms seem to like to deal with the candidate on my behalf during the interview process. I’d be glad to pay the fee if I hire a person they introduce, but why do they feel they have to be involved all the way through the process? Why can’t I just reach out to the candidate to set up an interview?

    -President, , lighting ballast manufacturer

    Paul: The answer is, of course, you can do that. However, by ‘bypassing’ your search partner (even if you’ve no problem paying the fee once the candidate is hired), you’re really not availing yourself of some of the key benefits of working with an executive recruiter in the first place. Granted, there are some firms that are referred to in the industry as ‘resume farms’ that specialize in forwarding companies resumes (solicited but often unsolicited, and not always with the candidate’s prior knowledge or approval), and those firms would just as much send you the resume and leave the rest of the work to you. However, the better firms are best utilized as a partner, not a ‘vendor’ in your search. A skilled search expert will stay in close touch with the candidate(s) throughout the entire process (even after acceptance) and will know the questions to ask to find out how truly interested your top candidates are. Being the ‘third person’ doesn’t hurt at all. An excellent executive recruiter can also help to determine if a candidate has another agenda, or has concerns that otherwise might not be identified until it is too late---i.e., after they have turned down your offer. You wouldn’t second-guess your doctor or your attorney or try to manage their processes—don’t do it with your search firm, either.

    Posted 2/7/2020

    Why can’t recruiters tell me the name of the company when they call me? How am I supposed to know if I’m interested?

    -Senior Lighting Designer, , theatrical lighting design firm

    Paul: I hear this question fairly frequently. Some search firms will disclose the company but most usually don’t. The reasons can vary, but often include confidentiality. Many searches are either a confidential replacement of an incumbent or often with a company who doesn’t want to ‘telegraph’ to the market its hiring plans/market strategies, especially if they are going into a new channel or introducing a new product line. Some companies (especially ones who have great reputations in the marketplace) don’t want to be flooded with resumes of people who may not even be qualified. They’d rather look at a select group of ‘high quality’ candidates who seem to be a good match than deal with the ‘high quantity’ (but often of greatly varying quality) responses that an ad often may produce, and don’t want to have to deal with those interested candidates who may not even be a fit. While a good portion of our searches are retained, we like to keep the entire process as discreet as possible for both company and candidate. Lighting/SSL is really a small market in many ways and we find most parties actually prefer the high degree of confidentiality. I have a past column (‘When a Recruiter Calls’) on our website that deals with this topic.

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